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Little Beehive, Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike

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The Beehive Hike via Lake Agnes at Lake Louise

Distance: 12.1km / 7.5miles, Time: 5-7hours, Elevation: 880m / 2,887ft, Dog Friendly: Yes, Toilets: Yes, at the Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise and at the Lake Agnes Teahouse

The Little Beehive hike and the Big Beehive Hike via Lake Agnes Teahouse at Lake Louise are some of the best Lake Louise hikes! This trio of trails gives you incredible views of Lake Louise from above!

One of the great things about this hike is that you can do 3 different hikes in one or you can choose to shorten it and choose to do only 1 or 2 sections of the hike. The Beehive Hike consists of the Little Beehive, Big Beehive and Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike. Dave and I did all 3 in one day and are going to spill all the “tea” on whether or not it is worth it to do all 3!

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about each of these hikes, including the stats and difficulty, how to combine all three to do one big epic hike and also which part of the hike was our favourite!

Photo of Lake Louise at sunrise

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Would you prefer to hike in a group with a guide? I recommend this Beehive Hike Tour which starts at the Fairmont at Lake Louise.

Where is the Lake Louise Beehive Hike Located?

Just like the name says, the Little Beehive / Big Beehive Trail is located at Lake Louise. If you are driving, you will need to park in the Lake Louise parking lot.

📌TIP: The Lake Louise Parking Lot does get super busy during Summer in the peak times such as weekends and mid-morning / lunch. I recommend getting there nice and early in the morning or alternatively later in the afternoon once the day morning hikers leave for the day.

How to get to Lake Louise by Public Transport

If you choose not to drive, you can arrange the shuttle service to Lake Louise through Parks Canada or Road Transit. This will need to be booked in advance.

Click here to open the map in Google Maps!

How to Get to the Beehive Hike Trailhead

The Lake Agnes Teahouse, Little Beehive and Big Beehive hikes all start from the same trailhead. Once you reach Lake Louise from the carpark, walk around the right-hand-side of the lake, past the Fairmont Hotel. To reach the trailhead, keep walking alongside the lake (which will be on your left), and soon on your right-hand-side, you will see the Lake Agnes Trail sign. This is where you will want to go.

There are actually 2 different options for the trail so you can take one up and the other one back. We recommend taking the trail to Lake Agnes and Mirror Lake as this trail is more of a gradual incline.

🚗 Looking for more things to do in Banff National Park? Check out these must see spots in this Icefields Parkway guide!

Things to Know Before Hiking the Beehive Trail

  • You are in bear and cougar country. There are black bears, grizzly bears and cougars in the Lake Louise area. Bring bear spray with you on all hikes and ensure you are up to date with wildlife safety.
  • The bugs are insane during Summer! Bring along some good bug spray.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat as there are parts of the hike that are quite exposed.
  • If you do all 3 trail in one day, it is quite a long hike. Make sure you are well prepared with enough food and water for the day. If you do run out, there is Agnes Teahouse as a back up.

Overview: The 3 Sections of the Hike

There are 3 different sections (or 3 different hikes), that you can choose to split up or do all at once! The first and easiest hike is The Little Beehive Hike. The second is The Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike and the third is The Big Beehive Hike which also includes Lake Agnes Teahouse along the way.

Little Beehive Hike

Distance: 8.6km
Elevation Gain: 535m
3-4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

The Little Beehive is the shortest section of the hike and if you were to do it by itself it would be 9km return.

We found that the Little Beehive wasn’t quite as popular as the Big Beehive viewpoint even though the views are just as awesome!

Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike

Distance: 7.6km
Elevation Gain: 435m
2.5 – 3.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

Man standing at Lake Agnes

Lake Agnes Teahouse is on the same trail as the Little Beehive Hike for the majority of the hike, however you take a little detour to get to the Little Beehive viewpoint. If your goal is to reach the Big Beehive though, you might choose to gun it straight to Lake Agnes Teahouse, stop for a rest and some photos and then continue on to the Big Beehive viewpoint. You could always make a detour to the Little Beehive on the way back if you still have time.

The Teahouse itself is pretty small and in Summer the queues become absolutely insane! Not really worth the hype if you ask us, but then again we didn’t try the food so maybe it is incredible. As you can imagine, the food there was also kind of pricey due to the location and there wasn’t a huge amount of choice.

We preferred to bring our own snacks and lunch with us on this hike and then stop somewhere without any queues for a treat back in Lake Louise once we were done.

Lake Agnes is gorgeous and is framed by a big snowy mountain which shows its reflection in the lake on a calm day.

Big Beehive Hike

Distance: 10.8km
Elevation Gain: 778m
4-6 hours
Difficulty: Hard

couple standing at the Big Beehive Viewpoint overlooking Lake Louise

The Big Beehive is the hardest of the 3 hikes and also the longest. We did this hike at the beginning of July and there were still a few sections with snow on the trail from Lake Agnes Teahouse to the Big Beehive. This made the trail quite scary as it is also a steep drop off on one side for quite some time as you hike up a few winding switchbacks from the Teahouse.

Trail Description

The Beginning

The trail begins at Lake Louise and immediately takes you up into the forest. You will climb steadily until you reach the first point of interest, Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is a lake with the Big Beehive sitting above / behind it. You will immediately realise how both of these got their names! Mirror Lake, because the reflections in the lake are so good that it could easily be a mirror and Big Beehive resembles a beehive!

Mirror Lake

Couple standing at Mirror Lake with reflection

From Mirror Lake, there are two different trails that you can take, but you will want to follow the trail to the right, following the signs to Little Beehive, Big Beehive and the Lake Agnes Hike. A little way further into the trail, you will come to an intersection where you can choose to head straight up to Lake Agnes to go to the Little Beehive first.

The Little Beehive Viewpoint

Couple sitting at the Little Beehive viewpoint overlooking Lake Louise

When we did this hike, we went to the Little Beehive first and from there continued onto Lake Agnes and the Big Beehive. The Little Beehive is only about 1km from Mirror Lake and once you reach the viewpoint, there are lots of different spots to take in the view of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Hotel. One thing I do remember not liking about this viewpoint was the amount of mosquitoes! They weren’t as bad up at the Big Beehive.

Lake Agnes Teahouse

photo of Lake Agnes with Reflections of mountain in water

From the Little Beehive viewpoint, you will only have to backtrack a little before continuing onto Lake Agnes. You will see a sign for the teahouse. This was the most crowded area of the hike but a good places for a rest. There are a couple of seats but they will most likely be taken. If they are, you can always find a good comfy rock. There are also toilets located at the Agnes Teahouse. When we were there there was a line for the toilets and a line for the teahouse. It was incredible but I guess that’s Lake Louise in the Summer for you!

The Big Beehive Viewpoint

Couple holding hands and standing above Lake Louise at the Big Beehive viewpoint

Lake Agnes Teahouse is the point where a lot of people turn around but if you are wanting to hike up to the Big Beehive, you will need to continue walking around the right-hand-side of Lake Agnes. As you walk, the trail on the other side of the lake will come into view and you will see people hiking higher up switchbacks away from the lake. This is where you are going.

As you walk around Lake Agnes, listen out for Pikas. You might hear them squeaking as you are in their favourite kind of environment. Pikas absolutely love being in the mountains in a big boulder field which is what you will be hiking through. The trail is well maintained so luckily, you won’t have to navigate the boulders.

The switchbacks and the part of the lake furthest away from the teahouse were the sections that we encountered snow in July when we did this trail. I actually ended up putting on micro spikes just to make myself feel more confident but the snow wasn’t too bad.

Once you have completed the switchbacks, you will feel like you should be there and this is where the hike felt like it was never ending. To get to the viewpoint, you have to continue walking all the way until you reach a viewing platform. This is it! Oh also watch out for chipmunks up here. They seemed to really enjoy the view.

Which is better – The Little Beehive or Big Beehive Hike in Lake Louise?

The answer to this is totally subjective but I can give you my opinion and the reason behind it and then I will outline the pros and cons for each for you to make your own decision. My favourite section of the hike was the Little Beehive because I actually preferred the view, being that much closer to the lake and it wasn’t as crowded as the Big Beehive the day we were there.

Little Beehive vs Big Beehive Pros and Cons

Little Beehive HikeBig Beehive Hike
– Shorter Hike (approx. 2-4 hours)– Longer Hike (approx. 4-5 hours)
– More mosquitoes– You may have to hike through some snowy sections
– Less crowded and more space at the viewpoint– Less obstructed views overlooking Lake Louise / you can see more of Lake Louise
– You can still see Lake Agnes after– You can see Lake Agnes along the way

Other Great Hikes to Do in Lake Louise

As you can imagine, there are loads of awesome hikes to do in Lake Louise all varying in levels of difficulty.

Fairview Lookout

Distance: 2.3km / 1.4 miles | Elevation: 161 metres / 528 ft | Time: 1-1.5 hrs |  Level: Moderate

This is another popular hike in Lake Louise because you get a really great view of the Fairmont with the mountains in the background. It is also a popular snowshoeing route. The trail takes you up the left-hand-side of Lake Louise.

Mt. Saint Piran

Distance: 13km / 8 miles | Elevation: 940 metres / 3,083 ft | Time: 5-6 hrs |  Level: Challenging

The views from Mt. Saint Piran are similar to the Beehives but even more epic and unobstructed! The trail is also much less popular due to the difficult terrain which is a mixture of a scramble and a hike. We haven’t done this one yet but it’s definitely on our list for the next time we are in Lake Louise!

Our Thoughts

We love love loved this trio of trails and we don’t regret doing all 3 at once! Our personal favourite viewpoint was the Little Beehive so next time we would probably go back and just do that one but if you are trying to decide whether to do all 3 or not, just do it! You might only get to see Lake Louise once in your life so you may as well see as much as you can while you have the chance!

If you don’t feel comfortable hiking by yourself, I highly recommend joining this hiking tour so that you don’t miss out on seeing this incredible once in a lifetime views for yourself!

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